Who’s riding along with you?

If you squint your eyes hard enough (I mean really hard!) you might to see a young boy fishing on the stern of the windsurf board while his dad used the wind to navigate to the other side of the bay. It reminded me that people are tied to our journeys in life. Those people can be those who are close to us. Those people can be those we have never seen before.

The fact is that we all have influence on others. Some are directly affected and some are indirectly affected. Are you intentional about who and how use your influence? Yes, you do have influence whether you accept it or not. As you are heading to your next destination or goal who are you bringing along with you? Who gets to fish at the stern of your board?

Who Do You Trust?

I caught myself thinking that life would be way easier if I had things figured out earlier. Yet, the more I got things figured out the more I realize that I don’t have things figured out. Are you with me?

Even though there are events in our lives that are naturally out of our control, most challenges and disappointments in life are self-inflicted. Do you agree?

Are you a victim of a lack of knowledge or is it a lack of guts to make the tough decisions that have a personal cost?

The good news is that the God of this Universe is a God of second chances. He yearns to be in relationship with us. He’s not driven by neediness. He is driven by love. His love includes a care for our welfare in both good times and bad.

If you have read the Bible before, you may know about David. Once a shepherd boy who became a mighty, yet soap-opera-ishly flawed king of Israel. And being a king meant that his decisions would affect a region of the world and all the people in it. His decisions would shift world history.

For all that David would get wrong, he knew who to go to when he was in trouble. He wrote,

“I look up to the mountains- does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” ~Psalms 121:1-2 NLT

Whenever I’m close to the mountains, I tell myself that my trust isn’t on my own wits and skills. My trust isn’t on the little wealth that I have. My trust isn’t in man, whether it’s my employer, the stock market, my healthy lifestyle, my prescriptions, my political leaders, nor my news media. My trust is in God first and foremost. My help comes from the One who made heaven and earth! How about you?

I still get to…

With one kid already a grown-up and 2 more just about to enter their teens, I am milking up the moments I have with them in this stage of their lives. I recently went with my ladies to the closest beach to catch a sunset. As I watched them let the end of the shorebreak touch their toes, I realized that I still get to the watch them play.

I was formulating my list of “still get to’s” to maintain a thankful heart. I don’t know of any scientific studies to support the benefits of being thankful. I just know from experience that having a grateful heart is good for the soul. I know you have experienced the same thing.

I still get to see my children play at the beach. I still get to sit with my wife and talk about a tv show. I still get to drive a car that works. I still get to eat a couple of fish tacos with a co-worker because that means that I am employed. Since I do have a job, I get to get ready for work and take a shower as warm or cool as I want it.

You get where I am going with this? Having a healthy perspective of your life means you’re likely to have a healthy soul. A healthy soul contributes to your overall well-being. God’s Word says so in 3 John 1:2,

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

Now it’s your turn. What are your “I still get to’s?”

When Things Go Wrong

I found this wreckage (in the photo above) one early morning while on a work project. Can you imagine waking up to seeing your car totaled and crushed between 2 other cars?
 
Accidents happen. If you live life long enough you will encounter challenges, crisis, and unfortunately even tragedy. However, it is how we respond to these events that set the course of our lives.
 
Be encouraged. God is not taken by surprise. That’s why the first course of action is to pray. Although we shouldn’t approach God is if He were a genie with 3 wishes, He is a Creator who seeks to be a Father to His creation.
 
There’s a passage in Scripture that gives us a glimpse of the heart of God, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7
 
God cares. They Creator of this universe and all that is seen and unseen cares about you and me as individuals. Are you willing to trust Him with the things you are concerned with? Are you willing for Him to be in charge of the direction of your life?
 
Pastor and writer Charles Swindoll said,
 
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
 
Are you willing to let God help you with the 90%?

Don’t DIY your life. DIWG

Don’t DIY Your Life. DIWG. Do it with God.

As I watched this elderly man walking the streets of L.A., I remembered a Jewish Proverb:

A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. ~Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

We were never meant to do this journey alone. DIY home projects or car repairs are great. I just fixed my toilet this morning by looking on YouTube. It took me 2 minutes! Don’t DIY your life.

God has blessed us with a free will and a creative mind to take amazing adventures and accomplish great deeds, but He had always intended for us to be in a relationship with Him. In that relationship with Him, we can see the world with a wider lens. We can see the bigger picture. We can find His purpose for us.

I can start with a simple prayer today, “God, show me the way I should go today. I want to know you and your purpose for me.” It’s possible that seemingly nothing earth-shattering will change for you immediately afterwards. However, it’s more about yielding to the One who supplies the very air you breathe.

This is what Jesus taught his followers about the daily things we worry about.

“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.’

Read more in context here https://www.bible.com/bible/116/LUK.12.22-31

Don’t DIY your life. DIWG. That is, Do It With God.

Life getting you down? Here are things to look at.

img_0564Here is an encouragement to you if you are in one of life’s storms or currently battling depression. Here are some things you can “look at.”

Look at your watch. This will be your reminder that trials are temporary. Sometimes, you even have a say-so in how long the trial will last. Storms don’t last forever. All storms end at some point.

Look at the bigger picture. It is way too easy to keep your head caught up in the crisis or trouble. Take a step back and choose too look at your storm with a bigger perspective. Make a decision to thoughtfully respond instead of reacting out of emotion.

Look around for others. You are not alone. You were never meant to do life alone. As much as you would could claim that your situation is unique, most likely a family member or a friend has gone through something like your situation and can provide a listening ear or encouragement.

Look up. The first opportunity that you have, go outside. View the expanse of the sky. Feel the breeze on your face, Listen for signs of life even if it’s a car driving by. Your sigh can be one of relief instead of despair. We all wish there was a magic wand to wave over and evaporate every challenge in life. There isn’t, but there’s good news.

The Scriptures say that there is a God who sees you and knows you by name. If you have never done this before, lift your hands towards Heaven and open up your hands and ask God to take the heaviness that you are under. If you have never asked God to help you, then ask. If your challenges have a name or names, like names of kids, say their names verbally. God knows them.

Allow yourself the chance to be surprised. The result may not be an instant miracle. However, when you are the one who changes in the midst of the storm, then the victory will last way after the storm is done.

Christmas Lights the way


We hang them with hope
To illuminate these nights
Christmas lights the way

How do Christmas lights not bring out the child-like wonder in you? And a smile that reveals someone lost in the memory of Christmases past. Inspiring you to keep traditions passed down from your parents. Motivated to start new traditions. This Christmas, challenge yourself to go beyond yourself and share that light. Be an example for your children. You can volunteer at the local food bank or the children’s hospital. We can have real hope because Jesus, the Light of the world chose to reach out to us.

Thankful


I am grateful for hot water
that helps me start my day
and for my hot toast
with PB and gelée

A cozy bed and warm sheets
that help me rest and relax
and a job with a salary
to pay my bills and that tax

My wife and my kids
who love me for who I am
and my family and friends
and pals on FB and Instagram

Thanks to the One who never sleeps
Who helps me fix my mess
and puts solid ground under my feet
I am #blessed

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Aging Well

John proudly has his birthday on his chest when he surfs, 2-2-30. He’s aging with style. I am considerably younger, but am I aging well? I want to. Do you? Are you? I’m sure there’s more, but there are questions to ask because I want to enjoy my family as long as I can. I know you do too.

Question #1. How long can I go eating like crap? Recently, I chose not to anymore. When the doctor said I have to go on medication indefinitely I realized changes have to be made. I believe his analogy was something like, “You wouldn’t put soda in the fuel tank of your car because it wouldn’t run right.” I got the picture.

Question #2. How do I play? That play should lean more on doing something instead of sitting and being entertained. I remember the last time my wife and I binge-watched a TV drama on Netflix. It was a great series, but I got seriously tired for weeks. Apparently, the folks back before cars were tempted to stay sedentary as well. Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying, “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.”

Question #3. Who am I sharing life with? The person missing in this picture was John’s son. John was 80-something surfing with his 60-something son! Life was not meant to surf alone. Make time with family and friends as much as possible. I read somewhere that pets help too.

Living with purpose changes everything. We weren’t put on this earth to just take up space. Why live that way? We all have a calling to do something for the Creator who knows us personally and I’m 100% sure it will benefit this world. Discovering what that something is make sense of all the do’s and do not’s and turns them into what you want to get out of life. It makes the “good” food taste better. It makes the hard work not feel so hard. It makes playing a lot more fun. It makes our relationships with our family and friends sweeter.

That’s the short list. Thanks for reading it. Do you have anything to add to it?

The Paths We Take

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“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own,
and you know what you know.
And you are the only one who’ll decide where you’ll go.”~Dr. Seuss

Why do we spend so much time and energy trying to avoid the hills and valleys of life?  Here are a few of my thoughts on the paths we choose in life:

  • Regardless of your theology, you are never alone. Why even try to do life by yourself? It is way more interesting to walk this journey with others.
  • Speaking of theology; I’d rather trust in the One who knows more than me for directions.
  • Have a destination because that’s your goal. What makes you is the journey.
  • Walk with purpose in every step. They count whether they were wasted or not and you can’t take them back.
  • Swallow your pride and change your course at any of point of the journey if you realize you were going the wrong way.
  • Don’t avoid paths just because they are too challenging or risk pain. No pain. No gain.
  • Enjoy it.

What would you add to the list?

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own,
and you know what you know.
And you are the only one who’ll decide where you’ll go.”

Thank you Dr. Seuss.